Advent is a season of preparation. It’s the slow build of anticipation for the joyful revelation of Christ’s birth on Christmas morning. I’m trying to live in the waiting this year, by bringing out our Christmas decorations a bit at a time, slowly transforming our home as Advent unfolds. Yesterday we had a friend from China for dinner, and she and the Bean both got to pick one more figure to add to our crèche. It takes me a lot of self-restraint not to do everything at once, but I do appreciate this approach. (Not the least because it gives me time to craft new ideas without feeling rushed!) This Sunday we put up a wreath on the door, made from branches found in the backyard. We’ve got a paper village in our kitchen window, and I have plans to make a few garlands this week, with dried orange slices and colourful fabric scraps.
Another beautiful element of the waiting this year is the little baby inside me. She’s due in the new year, and as I count down the days to Christmas I enjoy the knowledge that I am counting down the days until we meet her face to face. Being pregnant around Christmastime adds a visceral perspective on the story I know so well…beneath the sanitized “Jesus is born!”, I empathize more deeply with the reality of carrying and bearing a child, of the mixture of joy and pain that accompanies birth, the inescapable messiness of the human condition. That is what Jesus chose to be born into, and it astounds me. Beneath the twinkling lights and the spiced sugar smells, I feel the thick current of blood pumping, heartache and longing, the messy human reality that looks up in wonder at the angels singing. And is suddenly touched with the blazing light of the Word in human flesh, just as beautiful and mysterious two thousand years later.
I don’t think it will last, but the snow this morning is making me feel very Christmasy indeed!